Consumers use crowdsourcing to find everything from great restaurants to cheap haircuts. But the concept has yet to take hold for more serious matters—such as helping medical professionals address their patients’ illnesses—until now. CNS Response (named for the central nervous system) is an innovative neuroscience company that maintains a database that lets physicians exchange data on individual patient medication response and outcomes. With CNS’s online registry, doctors can crowdsource recommendations for psychiatric treatments and medications based on what’s been effective for other patients with similar brain patterns.
“Finding the right medication for depression or post traumatic stress disorder has always been a trial-and-error process, and there can be many failures before a doctor finds the right one,” explains George Carpenter, CEO. “Our database helps doctors understand how different medications may affect their own patients and more accurately predict which therapy will work best.” That’s good news for the one in ten Americans currently on an antidepressant, over half of whom fail to respond.
CNS’s database has grown to contain 37,000 outcomes and has helped over 9,800 patients. All of that information is contained in Salesforce and can be easily viewed and updated by physicians and psychiatrists. Doctors can input information on iPads while in the exam room with patients—via a custom app built on the App Cloud—and then get personalized reports for patients in real time.
“Although there have been many innovations in neuroimaging, we’re still using the same trial and error therapies we were giving 10-20 years ago,” Carpenter says. “Now, with help from Salesforce, we can help physicians see which medications are more likely to work. Early results are showing that we can help patients reach remission in half the time of treatment as usual.”
CNS also takes advantage of popular social networks to help patients. Inside the company, employees use Salesforce Chatter to share information and collaborate to help doctors and patients. The company also uses Twitter so it can keep in touch with the reporters covering mental health stories and stay on top of breaking news.
The catalyst for CNS was seeing the high suicide rates in the U.S. military. “This year, we’ve lost more military personnel to suicide than to combat,” Carpenter explains. “We saw that if we can pool together physician records from all over the country, we can make more accurate predictions and get soldiers on the right treatments faster.”
CNS is currently managing a clinical trial of this crowdsourcing technology with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and will be treating 2,000 patients diagnosed with mental health conditions including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and mild traumatic brain injury. “By saving military patients the pain and stress of trying medications that don’t work for them, we’re hoping to save lives,” says Carpenter.